Council chair: ‘Important’ that investigation into Pierce County Sheriff isn’t political
On Tuesday, Pierce County Council Chair Derek Young announced that he would be launching an independent investigation into Sheriff Ed Troyer, following a late-January incident where Troyer called the police on a Black newspaper delivery driver. Young spoke to KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show on Thursday to explain what the council is looking to accomplish with its investigation.
Because Pierce County’s Sheriff is elected rather than appointed, the county council’s oversight abilities are limited. Even so, Young still believes it’s the council’s responsibility to uncover the truth of what happened in late January.
“The way I look at this is that the council is the body that represents the people most closely, and we have some authority to do investigations based on our charter,” he noted. “And so I think it’s important for us to conduct an investigation on their behalf to make sure all the facts are known. Then people can choose to do with it as they wish.”
The incident in question was first reported on by the Seattle Times, describing how Troyer had reported seeing a car moving in and out of a neighbor’s driveway at 2 a.m. with its headlights off. He then confronted the driver, identified as 24-year-old Sedrick Altheimer, before making a call to dispatch that had an estimated 42 units from around the region sent to the scene.
Troyer claimed three separate times in the call that Altheimer had threatened to kill him. Altheimer has since denied he made any such threats, while a statement taken by a Tacoma police officer at the scene says that the Pierce County Sheriff later advised him he was “never threatened.”
Troyer later disputed the Tacoma officer’s report, making it that much more important for Young to figure out how the events of that night actually transpired, independent of anyone’s personal biases or politics.
“I think this is an across the board belief, that the most important thing is that the truth comes out, whatever it looks like,” Young said. “That’s important to me because I don’t want this to be political, and I don’t want this to be partisan, so I think it’s really important for the public to have trust in this, and that’s the way I’d like to keep it.”
To that end, Young hopes to have someone who isn’t connected to law enforcement spearhead the investigation on the council’s behalf.
“I thought it was important that we not just have another agency look at this,” he said. “So, we’re looking at someone who’s potentially a retired attorney — basically, someone that exhibits that independence and doesn’t have any connections to local law enforcement.”
“That way we can make sure that it’s something that’s as trustworthy as we can make it,” he added.
Troyer has indicated that he welcomes the county council’s investigation, saying that he “looks forward” to its findings and “welcomes this inquiry.”
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